Upper West Side CERT

Hello, Upper West Side!

Welcome to the official Web site of the Upper West Side Community Emergency Response Team (UWS CERT) and our very first news post. It occurs at an auspicious time: the beginning of a new year, a new decade, and in many ways a new age.

Upper West Side aerial view

Aerial view of New York’s Upper West Side with Central Park in the foreground

Ten years ago, when we stood at the threshold of a new millennium, more Americans were worried about Y2K than the possibility of a terrorist attack, a flu pandemic, or a major American city being leveled by flood. Back then, emergency response was left to “the experts”. People who stocked their basements with emergency supplies and put their families through disaster drills were called crazy survivalists. Today we call them prudent.

For better or worse, America is a very different place than it was in 1999 and Americans are rising to the occasion. Many of us are taking a more active role in preparing ourselves, our families, and our communities not only to survive a disaster, but also to help others survive. What we have found is that being CERT-ified is empowering; and it’s also fun. Learn how you can be a part of this can-do community.

UWS CERT members are your neighbors, ordinary citizens who undertook a comprehensive 11-week training program to learn emergency preparedness and response. AdminiTerrorism warnings expandedstered by the New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM), the program includes training in such areas as fire safety and suppression, light search and rescue, disaster medical operations, disaster mental health, preparedness for disasters in an urban environment, police science, terrorism awareness, and other critical areas.

CERT members provide support in three ways: 1) We can be deployed to assist the NYPD, FDNY, or EMT at an emergency site. During the week long Queens blackout of 2006, two CERT teams assisted first responders and the Salvation Army in handing out water and food, and providing general help to residents who needed it. 2) We can be deployed as first responders by NYC OEM in certain situations in which the NYPD, FDNY, or EMT are unable to arrive at a disaster site quickly enough; for example, in a blackout, when traffic is at a standstill and emergency vehicles cannot get through. 3) We assist NYC OEM in educating New Yorkers about emergency preparedness.

OEM has some great tips on how you can get prepared and get involved.

We will update these pages frequently with news of events, trainings, and other activities, so bookmark this page and/or subscribe to our RSS feed.

Here’s wishing you a very happy, healthy, and safe new year!

Linda Lopez
For the UWS CERT Board of Directors

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